August 22nd is the appearance day of Lord Balaram, the elder brother of Lord Sri Krishna, and is celebrated on the full moon day of Shravana (August), also known as Balaram Jayanti and Balaram Purnima. Lord Balaram appeared as the son of Rohini and Vasudeva. He is also known as Baladeva and Sankarshana. He gives us the required spiritual strength to cross over the hurdles in our journey of self-realization.
Lord Balaram is sixteen years old and has a fair complexion the color of crystal. He wears blue garments and a garland of forest flowers. His hair is tied in a graceful topknot. Earrings adorn His ears and His neck is splendidly decorated with strings of jewels and wears armlets and bracelets. Balaram is graceful and has very strong arms and His feet are decorated with jeweled anklets.
The splendor of Lord Balaram's transcendental form eclipses many millions of glistening rising moons, and the slightest scent of His boundless strength is sufficient to destroy many armies of demons. Although He knows the supernatural power of His younger brother, Krishna, still, out of love for Him, He never leaves Krishna alone in the forest even for a moment. Balarama is Sri Krishna's dearest friend and is a great reservoir of the nectar mellows of many kinds of transcendental pastimes.
Lord Balaram exemplifies the service attitude to Krishna. His only mission is to please Krishna by rendering service to Him, whether it is in the creation of the material worlds, maintaining the spiritual world or as His personal paraphernalia.
Lord Balaram is the eternal companion of Sri Krishna. He came as Lakshmana with Rama and later as Nityananda Prabhu with Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is the original spiritual master, and anyone desiring to make spiritual progress must first get the mercy of Lord Balarama.
Once when Krishna and Balaram were playing with the cowherd boys, a demon named Pralamba entered their midst, disguised as a cowherd boy. Understanding the invincible potency of Krishna, he instead decided to abduct Balaram. At the end of the game, as the losing party he was supposed to carry Balaram on his shoulders. Carrying the Lord on his shoulders he ran swiftly, but Balaram realizing the true identity of demon began to make himself heavier and heavier. Unable to bear the weight, the demon assumed his original form which was like a huge dark effulgent cloud, decorated with golden ornaments. Balaram then bought His fist down the head of the demon splitting it into two and causing him to give up his life.
As the elder brother of Krishna, Balaram was the object of His love and respect. Once when walking in the forest of Vrindavana, Krishna observed the trees bending down as if paying obeisances. He glorified the lotus feet of Balaram as being the object of devotion even for the demigods. He said that the trees, which were impersonalists in previous life times, witnessing the personal form of Balaram were now praying for His devotion. At other times when Balaram would get tired by playing, He would lie down the lap of one of the cowherd boys and Krishna would personally massage His feet, fan Him and give Him service. Such was the sweet reciprocation of love between Krishna and Balaram.
* Devotees fast till noon and pray to Lord Balaram to bestow the spiritual strength needed to practice spiritual life.
* Devotees often dress in blue on this day and dress their deities in Balaram Blue
* Many devotees make and offer Varuni to Lord Balaram today, it is said to be his favorite drink. As stated in Krsna Book: "While drinking this natural beverage (Varuni), all the gopis chanted the glories of Lord Balaram, and Lord Balarama felt very happy, as if He had become intoxicated by drinking that Varuni beverage."